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News Posted on November 9, 2017

King Hall Welcomes China University of Political Science and Law Students for Fall Semester Program

Twenty distinguished LL.M. and Ph.D. students from China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), one of the top law schools in China, arrived at UC Davis School of Law in October to participate in a three-month program of study on the American Legal System. This unique new program, now in its third year, is the result of a special relationship between UC Davis School of Law and CUPL in Beijing.

CUPL StudentsBeth Greenwood, Associate Dean of International Programs, speaks to King Hall’s commitment to academic collaboration. "Faculty members at UC Davis School of Law are thrilled by this opportunity to deepen our relationship with China University of Political Science and Law. This is another stage in our long-term institutional collaboration."

For many years, King Hall’s prominent faculty members have visited CUPL to teach and share legal research and expertise with CUPL's faculty and students, and CUPL faculty members and doctoral students have visited UC Davis School of Law in order to learn more about various aspects of law from an American point of view. UC Davis School of Law also established a student exchange program between the two law schools, and each August a number of top students from CUPL join the UC Davis academic year LL.M. program.

Current students of the program praise its many hands-on applications and interactive learning opportunities. Curriculum emphasizes an in-depth understanding of the U.S. legal system through learning the fundamentals of the common law system and first-hand experience with the Socratic method. Faculty provide instruction on contracts, business associations, constitutional law, torts, and appellate advocacy among other subjects. Students visit courts and the California Legislature during their stay.

Steven (Lai) Xu first set foot on UC Davis campus eight years ago, during a middle school field trip on his first exchange program to the United States. Today, Steven is a distinguished CUPL student in the class of 2019 who returned to King Hall because of the opportunity to learn in an environment that encourages engagement with current case studies and legal research. “The legal research and writing class given by Professor Johann Morri was quite inspiring, and I [mastered] the tools necessary to do legal research and achieve my goals on papers. Professors here are great at inspiring us to think …, and leading us to read more [real] cases,” Steven says. He believes that international education brings many benefits beyond the classroom as well, and is grateful for the cultural exchange that he has experienced during his time here.

Karen Kou, in contrast to Steven, had never studied in the United States before in enrolling in the CUPL exchange program. Having interned in large law firms for several years now, Karen notes the importance of studying abroad while working with international clients. First and foremost, Karen praises the professors for encouraging her international classmates to practice their English. “The professors want us to speak more, even though we cannot speak clearly at first. It is important for us, because we need to practice speaking … This could help in life and in a law firm, to communicate with foreign [clients].” Although she felt shy at first, Karen says that she no longer feels any hesitation in speaking during class, and feels more confident in her English skills. “If I have good English-speaking skills, it will help me to get me promoted,” Karen says, thanking the professors who invited all levels of engagement: “At first we were shy, but after one or two classes here, we all were so excited that we wanted to ask questions and express our ideas.”

Huaqian (Athena) Chen enrolled at CUPL in 2013. As one of the top-performing law students in her year, she applied for an experimental 6-year program that combines four years of undergraduate legal coursework with two years of graduate studies, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. Despite an accelerated graduation timeline, Athena says that studying at UC Davis School of Law was absolutely a priority in building a professional skill set and accessing valuable pre-professional resources. So far, she has benefitted from the many free resources and workshops offered at UC Davis. “What attracted me most is that there are many, many workshops and lectures available here, and not just in King Hall but [on campus] also. I have already attended workshops on finding a job, resume building and cover letters, and interviews that are very useful for students.” Athena advises her fellow students to have an open mind and take advantage of the many free, world-class opportunities available on this university campus.

"Partnership programs like this one are essential in today's global legal landscape," says Associate Dean Greenwood. This rigorous academic program for talented graduate students is intended to expand those international connections. "It continues to be our honor and pleasure to collaborate with our CUPL colleagues.”

For more information about other International Law Programs, please visit or contact Kate Asche at or 530-752-6081.